Prashant Kishor calls NRC botched up; dissident JD(U) leader lashes out

Prashant Kishor IPAC Political strategist - The Federal
Political strategist Prashant Kishor. Photo - PTI

In an embarrassment for JD(U), its national vice-president Prashant Kishor on Monday came under blistering attack from a dissident leader for calling the final NRC in Assam a botched up exercise.

Kishor, a poll strategist-turned-politician who has been professionally linked to anti-NDA parties like YSR Congress in Andhra Pradesh and Trinamool Congress in West Bengal despite JD(U) being a part of the BJP-led coalition, had on Sunday severely criticised the NRC.

“A botched up NRC leaves lakhs of people as foreigners in their own country! Such is the price people pay when political posturing and rhetoric is misunderstood as solution for complex issues related to national security, without paying adequate attention to strategic and systematic challenges,” Kishor had said on Twitter.

The final NRC was published in Assam on August 31 and excluded 19,06,657 people from among the 3,30,27,661 who had applied for inclusion in it.

Reacting sharply to Kishor’s views, former JD(U) spokesman Ajay Alok posted a flurry of angry tweets calling Kishor of no value and taunting that like “his client West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee”, who heads the TMC, the JD(U) national vice president was “having a pain in abdomen (over NRC)”.

“What is strategic and systematic? The one which we are following for the last 70 years and results are for everyone (to see). As far as botched up NRC, who is stopping anyone from proving their residency. Why guys like you and Didi (elder sister, the name by which Banerjee is known in political circles) are having pain in abdomen? Strategist you are but of no value,” Alok tweeted.

In another tweet dripping with sarcasm, Alok, who had resigned as spokesman a few months ago but remains a primary member of the JD(U), said, “Do you really think you won the election for @Nitishkumarji in 2015 and @narendramodiji in 2014? If yes, then kudos to you and good luck for @MamataOfficial. But do not post social and political tweets. It does not suit you. You are professional electioneer. This will hurt.”

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Kishor had first came into limelight when he handled the campaign of Narendra Modi in the 2014 general elections, which was a spectacular success. He worked with the Grand Alliance comprising Nitish Kumar’s JD(U), Lalu Prasad’s RJD and Congress in the 2015 assembly polls in Bihar helping the combination to trounce the NDA barely a year after the coalition had swept the state in the parliamentary elections.

Initially appointed as an adviser to the chief minister with a cabinet rank, he was inducted into JD(U) as a full-time member in September last year and elevated to the post of national vice-president weeks later.

Alok in his final tweet sought to twist the knife into the JD(U) national vice-president. “Is JD(U) comfortable with illegal immigrants who have become voters in Kishanganj, Purnea, Araria, Katihar, Supaul @Prashantkishorji, you are VP of the party, must be knowing more than me. sir@Nitishkumar come out of him (sic), we have seen him and you know him.”

Known for speaking his mind, Kishor had left many NDA leaders squirming ahead of the Lok Sabha polls when he welcomed Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s entry into Congress saying it would benefit the party in the long run.

On another occasion he had said that Nitish Kumar should have sought a fresh mandate in 2017 instead of forming a new government with the BJP after he walked out of the Grand Alliance.

Alok, on the other hand, has been adopting a stance more in sync with the Hindutva politics of the BJP. He had recently urged the party leadership to reconsider its stand on Article 370.

The JD(U) had staged walkouts in both Houses of Parliament protesting against the Narendra Modi government’s scrapping of special status enjoyed by Jammu and Kashmir and the legislation introduced and passed for reorganizing the state into to two Union territories.

He resigned as spokesman in June this year expressing regret that outbursts over illegal immigration problem in West Bengal had caused embarrassment to Nitish Kumar.